Building mathematics vocabularly

Author: Genovieve Fuser

Developing knowledge of language is fundamental in the mathematics classroom. The symbols, terms and words used in the classroom often come across as foreign words to many students, mainly because the words used are predominantly from Latin or Greek origin. For instance, words such as scalene, perimeter, numerator or quadrilateral can easily be forgotten. This may leave many students at a disadvantage. Therefore, it is imperative that teachers provide students with opportunities to enhance their numeracy skills through:

-          Critical reflection

-          Communication i.e. group work and collaboration

-          Questioning

-          Stimulating environments i.e. numeracy walls

-          Teaching vocabulary i.e. origins and meanings


This presentation will provide you with examples of worded problems encountered by students and the vocabulary they will investigate and develop along the way. Ideas on reflection and vocabulary development will also be explored.